A case study on the training issues related to leaders of self-managing teams in a redesign plant

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Virginia Tech


Self-managing teams (SMTs) are receiving increasing attention from organizations striving for continuous improvement and searching for innovative ways to get their employees involved and empowered. More and more organizations are realizing the significant impact these teams have on quality, productivity, the social circles, worker esteem, and profitability.

Consultants and researchers have also paid significant attention to the concept of SMTs, focusing on many aspects of these teams. However, little research has been directed toward the training needs of former supervisors, who, by a plant transitioning to SMTs, have now to take up the role of being coaches of the teams. They invariably are caught in the middle between empowering their teams and satisfying the needs of upper management.

The confusion about their new roles may lead to unsuccessful implementation of the teams. This research is an attempt to answer questions related to the training issues of leaders of self-managing teams.

The purpose of this study is to help managers and consultants further understand the issues, concern, problems and difficulties faced by the coaches of SMTs. The case study sight for this research was the AT&T plant in Richmond. Some of the outputs of this study are: prioritized lists of the issues and concerns of the coaches at AT&T, a simple cause-effect analysis, important issues and solutions proposed by the coaches, and a list of recommendations based on the overall analysis.